The Ancient Faith

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Homer A. Gay

In the beginning God realized that there must be discipline in the home, for He said to Eve, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). And all through the ages of God has expected the husband and father to be the head and ruler of the family. This does not mean that the wife has no say in things, for she is to “guide the house” (1 Tim. 5:14). A home without discipline is like a country without law.

With all of the teaching and training of children, there still comes a time when more stern measures must be taken. The new idea, that some smart people have, that punishment is the wrong way to handle children, is paying off now in the great surge of juvenile delinquency that blankets the country!

Christian parents, in trying to build a Christian home should take the Bible as a guide instead of some man-made formula. And the Bible says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24). When you try to take yourself and others believe that you. love your child too much to punish him. when he does wrong, just remember the Bible says instead that you hate him. As I have said before, it is not love that keeps parents from punishing a child, it is cowardice. Again, let us read, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with a rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shall deliver his soul from hell” (Prov. 23:13-14). When children are not taught in the home to obey rules, they are thrust out into society to give trouble. They will be disobedient in the school room, will disobey and dodge the “law”, be troublesome neighbors, and finally spend eternity in hell- and this, all because the parents “loved the children so much they could not spank them for not minding.”

If parents were the only ones who ever had to put up with the disobedient spoiled, undisciplined child, it might be different. But remember, that other people have to put up with that child for the greater part of his life. I have seen parents who were so ashamed of their child, when they would take it to church or when the preacher came, that they could not get through apologizing for it. Then they would go right back home and spoil that child even more, never seeming to realize that “the rod and reproof giveth wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”, nor heeding the admonition “corrupt thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight to thy soul” (Prov. 29:15-17). How true it is that a “child left to himself” will bring the parents down to shame! The main trouble these days is that most parents “leave the child to himself’ too long before they begin to try to correct him. When it is a baby it is so little and sweet, and as it grows up it does and says so many “cute” things; things that they intend to make it quit saying later but they laugh at these things now, and encourage the little one in things that are rude and unbecoming. Finally, when the child gets so large that these “cute” things are ridiculous to everyone but the parents, (and they begin to try to stop it) the child can never quite understand just why the change in his parents. He is losing confidence and respect for them. They will allow him to do and say so many things never obeying them all week, and then when they take him out to meeting and he takes in the whole place, disturbing everyone there and drowning out the preacher, they are ashamed of him and make excuses that he doesn’t feel well and all of that; when in reality, they themselves should make a public acknowledgment for neglecting their duty and take the youngster back home and begin in dead earnest to try to atone for their neglect and try to get that child under their control before the next Lord’s day. To other people, those little “shut up”, “let me alone”, “go jump in the lake,” and other like “cute sayings” of the child are just plain disobedience, and it surely is a grand mistake for parents to ever teach or allow their children to try to pull such on them.

One final word about when a child is really corrected; too many parents just spank a child enough to make it mad and then let it go on to bawl and complain and fuss the rest of the day. I saw a young father trying to make a child pick up something that it had thrown on the floor, not long ago. The child bitterly refused to do it, and the father spanked it a time or two, and then took the child’s hand in his own and picked the object up and put it on the table, the thing he had commented the child. He turned the child loose mad as a hornet, kicking, squirming and feeling assured that he had NOT minded his father. This child will be twice as hard to control next time. He should have been whipped until he was glad to do what his daddy told him to do–and just because daddy said to do it. The beating on the child is not what counts–it is the causing them to obey commands.

[This is from the June 1980 issue of the OPA].

 Recommended articles:

Introducing the Church of Christ – Ronny Wade

God’s Sevenfold Unity – Jerry Cutter

Repentance – J. W. McGarvey


The Ancient Faith website is a thematic collection of scholarly yet simple Bible essays and sermons, many of which were composed by Restoration preachers such as J.W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Campbell. These courageous men of faith through hours of Bible investigation studied themselves out of denominationalism, asking for “the old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and seeking to return to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). We hope you will join with these men in their fervent plea to restore “the ancient order,” “the ancient gospel” or, as it was sometimes called, “the ancient faith.”